Dutch newspaper gives bully vlogger a second chance, and a job

Photo: Ismail Ilgun via Twitter

A teenager who generated a storm of criticism for filming the way he and his mates taunted people visiting a shopping centre has been given a job making videos for the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

Ismail Ilgun’s first mini documentary, about boys in disadvantaged neighbourhoods who are trying to make something of themselves, went live on Friday.

Ilgun, 19, and a group of other men hit the headlines some months ago for harassing locals outside a shopping centre in Zaandam and putting the videos online. At one point prime minister Mark Rutte described them as ‘scum’ and a local councilor made a formal police complaint after being threatened.

According to the AD the vlogger has turned over a new leaf. A tweet from Kees de Koning, boss of hiphop label TopNotch, was all it took. ‘I was getting so much hate when I was arrested,’ Ilgun told the paper. ‘He was the only one who said ‘Where is Ismail?’ He told me I had talent but that I had to cut the crap.’

De Koning now helps Ilgun with his pr and interviews. ‘So I don’t do anything stupid’. Ilgun’s positive take on life has cost him many of his fans, the AD writes. His antics outside the shopping centre attracted hundreds of thousands of views but this has dwindled to tens of thousands. ‘Some people like the sensational stuff more,’ Ilgun said.


Although Ilgun, who describes himself as a ‘sweet person who is easily led’, apologised for his behaviour, he still thinks most of what was written about him was exaggerated.

He does regret shouting at Zaandam councillor Juliëtte Rot at her house, camera rolling. ‘She slagged me off in Pauw, and I think that’s hypocritical. She has been a councillor for ten years, what has she done to make things better?’

But for now, life is all about being positive. ‘We are not making excuses for him’, AD editor Hans Nijenhuis said. ‘But Ismail Ilgun has a special talent and his documentaries make for interesting journalism. In 20 minutes we are given an insight in a neighbourhood that we wouldn’t gain if it wasn’t for him.’

According to Nijenhuis, who admits to some minor juvenile delinquency himself, everybody deserves a second chance. ‘I pilfered stuff from the HEMA when I was nine. But there was always a teacher, a football coach or an uncle to help me on my way. These boys also need this kind of help.’